The Hazards of a National Geographic Photographer...

Reality Check

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

It's a Glamorous Life

  • 3

    Extreme Toxins

  • 6

    Broken Ribs

  • 30

    Wound Infection

  • 9

    Hypothermia

  • 19

    Severe Dehydration

  • 1

    Scaffolding Collapse

  • 2

    Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

  • 1

    Blinded by Wasps

  • 1

    Spitting Cobra Attacks

  • 8

    Assorted Animal Attacks

  • 12

    Falls

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

  • 7

    Car or Bus Crash

  • 1

    Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

  • 2

    Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

  • 1

    Diagnosed PTSD

  • 1

    Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

  • 1

    Lost at Sea

  • 6

    Random Assault

  • 1

    Held at Knifepoint

  • 5

    Malaria

  • 21

    Threatened / Detained / Abducted

  • 1

    Meningitis

  • 2

    Lost in Andes

  • 1

    Flesh Eating Parasites

  • 1

    Strongyloide Invasion

  • 3

    Chased by Wild Elephant

  • 1

    Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

  • 2

    Temporary Blindness

  • 2

    Fall Into Crevasse

  • 1

    Punched in Face

  • 1

    Viper in Camera Bag

  • 1

    Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

  • 8

    Giardia

  • 29

    Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

  • 4

    Burns

  • 4

    Tear Gassed

  • 2

    Groped

  • 10

    Rope Burn

  • 3

    Beaten

  • 90

    Severe Diarrhea

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

  • 21

    Paraglider Crash

  • 2

    Broken Nose

  • 2

    Held at Gunpoint

  • 3

    Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

  • 16

    Various Parasites

  • 1

    Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

  • 1

    Acid Dripping Caves

  • 1

    Hunted with Bows and Arrows

  • 9

    Groped

  • 5

    Plane or Helicopter Crash

  • 1

    Broken Tail Bone

  • 4

    Broken Bones

  • 13

    Robbed

  • 33

    Arrest or House Arrest

  • 13

    Run Checkpoint

  • 1

    Chased by Crocodile

  • 2

    Teargassed

  • 20

    Amoebic Dysentery

  • 1

    Dengue Fever

  • 2

    Stoned by Religious Group

  • 7

    Dislocations

  • 1

    Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

  • 1

    Lost on Arctic Ice

  • 12

    Severe Insect Problems

  • 9

    Venomous Bites

  • 1

    Penis Fish

  • 1

    Stabbed

  • 2

    Buried in Avalanche

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

  • 5

    Robbed

  • 3

    Imprisoned